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Leiolopisma telfairii (DESJARDIN, 1831)

IUCN Red List - Leiolopisma telfairii - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymScincus telfairii DESJARDIN 1831: 293
Leiolopisma Telfairi — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 742
Lygosoma telfairii — BOULENGER 1887: 270
Lygosoma (Hinulia) compressicaudum WERNER 1897 (?)
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) telfairi — SMITH 1937: 224
Leiolopisma telfairii — GREER 1974: 16
Leiolopisma telfairii — AUSTIN & ARNOLD 2006 
DistributionMauritius (restricted to Round Island)

Type locality: Île Plate, Mauritius  
TypesSyntype: MNHN-RA 7124 (2958), collected J. Desjardins (see Brygoo, 1985). Fate of other syntypes (from Round Island and Coin de Mire, the other localities mentioned in the description, at least), unknown.
Syntypes: ZSM 80/1947, 1 adult, ZSM 81/1947/1-2 [compressicaudum] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Small to relatively large (snout-vent length up to 150 mm), primarily terrestrial skinks which generally lack supranasals (except in spenceri, palfreym.ani and some ocellatum), have a movable lower eyelid and possess well-developed prefrontals. Frontoparietals fused or distinct; lower eyelid either scaly (pseudornatum) or with a clear window (all other species); external ear opening fairly well developed; clutch and litter sizes variable, up to 9 (Greer 1974: 16).

Alternative genus diagnoses: ROBB 1975, HARDY 1977: 230

Note the variable content of species that previous authors have included in this genus. 
CommentDistribution: Has been living on Mauritius and Reunion but is extinct there now (only fossils can be found)

Synonymy: A specimen in the ZSM labelled as Lygosoma (Hinulia) compressicaudum Werner, 1897 has another handwritten jar label by A. Greer who identifies the specimens as “probably Leiolopisma telfairii (Desjardin, 1831)”. A photo of this specimen is shown here.

Type Species: Scincus telfairii is the type species of the genus Leiolopisma DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839 (fide GREER 1974). For a diagnosis of the genus see ROBB 1975 or HARDY 1977: 230

Fossil species of Leiolopisma: Didosaurus mauritianus GÜNTHER 1877 (= Leiolopisma mauritiana or mauritianum) was described from subfossil remains from Mauritius but is now extinct). Its syntypes (BMNH 1965.95) were purchased by H.H. Slater (Transit of Venus Expedition. Whereabouts of the material collected by Edward Newton unknown. Described from a maxillary fragment with three teeth, five fragments of mandibles, seven femurs, and three partial humeri.). Austin & Arnold 2006 also isolated DNA from L. mauritania. 
EtymologyEtymology (genus): Leiolopisma" is derived from the Greek "leio" meaning smooth, and "lopisma" (the peel) referring to a sloughed outer layer. 
  • Arnold, E.N. 1980. Recently extinct reptile populations from Mauritius and Reunion, Indian Ocean. Journal of Zoology 191: 33–47
  • Austin, J. J. & Arnold, E.N. 2006. Using ancient and recent DNA to explore relationships of extinct and endangered Leiolopisma skinks (Reptilia: Scincidae) in the Mascarene islands. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39 (2): 503-511 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575 pp. - get paper here
  • Bullock, David J. 1986. The Ecology and Conservation of Reptiles on Round Island and Gunner's Quoin, Mauritius. Biological Conservation 37: 135 156 - get paper here
  • Camp, Charles Lewis 1923. Classification of the Lizards. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 48 (11): 289-481. - get paper here
  • Desjardin, J. 1831. Sur trois espèces de lézard du genre scinque, qui habitent l'île Maurice (Ile-de-France). Ann. Sci. Nat. Paris 22: 292-299 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • Greer, A.E. 1974. The generic relationships of the scincid lizard genus Leiolopisma and its relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology 31: 1-67. - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1877. Notice of two extinct lizards, formerly inhabiting the Mascarene Islands. Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 13:322-327 - get paper here
  • Robb, J. 1975. Two new skinks of the genus Leiolopisma from New Zealand. Proc. K. ned. Akad. Wet. (biol. med. Sci.) 78 (5): 477-483
  • Rogner, M. 2006. Mauritius für Anfänger. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (60): 43-50 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
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